Moss was blindsided by Hatch’s victorious campaign, not realizing that the political demographics of Utah were rapidly sliding from Democrat to Republican largely due to the culture wars of the 60s and early 70s, and which side of those wars the party of the kicking mule seemed to represent.
With state Representative Steve Urquhart (R-St. George) announcing his intent to challenge Hatch, many are spouting the same arguments against dumping Hatch that were commonly used in favor of keeping Moss 30 years ago. The main argument is that Utah doesn’t want to lose its seniority in the senate. However, seniority is good only if it actually benefits Utah. What has Hatch done with his oh-so-precious seniority?
The Hatch team has put out 28 press releases in the last 31 days. Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT), who won re-election last year, put out nine press releases during the same period. Here is a run-down of some of the things Senator Hatch is taking credit for doing in Washington.
- Introduced bill to use taxpayer money to subsidize purchases of gun safes.
- Supported the transportation bill, but failed to get language attached to enable the Legacy Highway to move forward. Did get language included to protect a small traffic data collection company in Utah County.
- Helped pass a bill that increases the small business tax exemption for medical device companies.
- Supported government funding of embryonic stem cell research.
- Supported language in the energy bill aimed at increasing staff to process the backlog in BLM gas and oil permit requests.
- Helped pass a bill to transfer ownership of Minersville State Park to Beaver County.
- Helped pass Senator Bennett’s bill adding some pioneer trails to the national trails system.
- Negotiated language in the (truly wasteful – see here) energy bill that would subsidize the purchase of alternative fuel cars, refineries that are increasing production, and development of alternative fuel sources.
- Supported President Bush’s various nominees.
- Supported copyright law changes that would benefit mostly large media companies and hurt smaller concerns.
- Introduced a bill aimed at protecting some private property in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling giving governments unprecedented power over private property.
- Supported a bill funding the move of the Moab tailings pile.
These issues are only part of the problem. The real problem is that Senator Hatch only pays attention to Utah voters, and elected and appointed officials during his election campaigns. Then they are safely tucked away back in that big squarish state out west while the good senator pursues his goal of inside-the-beltway immortality.
If seniority in the senate is so important, it’s time for us to start building new seniority now. Otherwise Utah will likely end up with two freshman senators only two years apart. That’s supposed to be good for Utah?
Hatch’s use of his seniority in the senate shows that it is not nearly as valuable as conventional wisdom seems to dictate. It’s time for fresh blood and time for someone that will actually represent Utah interests.
If you want to see where Steve Urquhart stands on issues, see his blog. If you want to know what kind of legislator and person Urquhart is, check out the blog of Representative John Dougall (R-American Fork). I think Urquhart is a great alternative to perma-Hatch.